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Sunday, October 26, 2014

Examples Of "John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday"

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases examples of the Jamaican Mento (folk song)
"John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" (John Crow Says He Doesn't Work On Sunday").

The Addendum to this post showcases two Reggae examples of this song.

This post continues this blog's compilation of Jamaican songs that mention "John Crow". Click the John Crow tab below for other pancocojams post on John Crow.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to these featured vocalists for their musical legacy. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publishers of these examples on the Internet.

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LYRICS: JOHN CROW SAY HIM NAAH WUK PAN SUNDAY
(traditional Jamaican Mento)

John Crow say him naah wuk pan Sunday!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!
John Crow say him naah wuk pan Sunday!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!
Tink a lie mi tell!
Kill yuh Mawga Cow!

Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!
John Crow say him a study fi teacha!!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!

John Crow say him a study fi lawya!!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!
John Crow say him a study fi parson!!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!

John Crow say him a dry lan' touris'!!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!
Tink a lie mi tell!
Kill yuh Mawga Cow!
Naah wuk! Him naah wuk pan Sunday!

Source: http://thelongwayhome-andreadowner.blogspot.com/2012/12/john-crow-brer-anancy-brer-tocuma-abna.html,
-snip-
Explanation of certain words:
"John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" - John Crow Says He Doesn't Work On Sunday(s).

"Tink a lie mi tell!"- I think he's lying.

"Kill yuh Mawga Cow!"= (He'll even) kill your skinny (meager) cow [on Sundays]

"a study fi" - study for (studying to be a ...)

"mawga" - meagre skinny
Source: http://www.thedialectdictionary.com/view/search/Jamaican/1592/ "Jamaican Dialect / Glossary"

"Dry land tourist" - "Slang expression for a Jamaican who has never left the island of Jamaica, but has begun to speak with a foreign accent, especially when he/she is around a tourist."

Source: http://jamaicanpatwah.com/term/Dry-land-tourist/1400

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WHAT THE SONG "JOHN CROW SAY HE NO WORK ON SUNDAY" MEANS
Here is one theory about this song from http://thelongwayhome-andreadowner.blogspot.com/2012/12/john-crow-brer-anancy-brer-tocuma-abna.html, Sunday, 8 December 2012 Andrea Downer
"JOHN CROW, BRER ANANCY, BRER TOCUMA, ABNA DUPPY (JAMAICAN ORAL & FOLK TRADITIONS)"
..."In Jamaica where I grew up, Sundays are hallowed days! Even for people who are NOT regular church goers! Even the most dedicated farmer or low-life lay-a-about in the district would take the occasional bath and put on some decent clothes and look respectable on Sundays...

As a matter of fact, on Sundays, the shops never used to really open of such, just a one window where the shopkeeper would sell the few items that would be purchased on Sundays...

Sundays were sacred! Trust mi! I could never imagine writing an exam or doing anything strenuous pon a Sunday back home. But here, having voluntarily transferred myself to a foreign land, I must confront the glaring differences in culture, lifestyle, grammar, syntax and practices and while it is a process I am learning and growing from, it takes much getting used to...

And as I was doing dishes and singing the song with my daughter, I remembered the oral tradition from which such a song [about John Crow] evolved. I also recalled that that particular song had originated from the African slaves that had been uprooted and taken to Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean in sub-human conditions to be raped, exploited and robbed of their human dignity and cultural clingings. I believe the song might have come about due to the slave's defiance at being compelled to work seven days a week and they insisted on at least one rest day: the aforementioned hallowed Sunday....
-snip-
Italics added by me to highlight this sentence.

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My Opinion About This Song's Meaning:
I don't think that the song "John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" has to do with enslaved people wanting to have at least one rest day.

I think this song was composed after slavery and addresses the tendency of people to turn their backs on traditional ways when they are studying for professional occupations, or when they want to pretend to be from outside that culture.

In my opinion, an important word in the title "John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" is the word says. Note that the song title isn't "John Crow Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" ("John Crow, He Doesn't Work On Sunday"). Whether it's Sunday or not John Crow (the vulture) will scoop down and eat even a mawga cow (a skinny cow).

John Crow (the Jamaican vulture) is a despised character in most Jamaican songs.* This song is saying that those Jamaicans who disregard their culture -such as those professional people who work on Sunday and those "dry land tourists" (Jamaicans who put on an American accent) should also be despised, or at least be derided (held in contempt, made fun of). Notice how in the skits of people singing this song that are shown above, the group makes fun of those people mentioned. I believe they are making fun of them because those groups of people are acting like they are better than, or at least different from other Jamaicans. And I think that's the central problem that this song speaks to.

*Although John Crow is almost always a despised character, in Beenie Man's [Reggae Song] "John Crow" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOMBNQXWR60) when the (black?) motorcyle is referred to as "John Crown" it's a complimente. My guess is that like John Crow (the vulture), that motorcyle is seen as "intimidating" and "fierce" in the vernacular sense of those words.

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FEATURED YOUTUBE EXAMPLES
These examples are presented in chronological order based on their publishing date on YouTube with the oldest dates given first.

Example #1: John crow says he na work on Sundays



Claire Kinkead, Uploaded on Nov 23, 2011
Traditional Jamaican song by the students of the Assemblies of God Bible College Jamaica

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Example #2: The Jamaican Folk Singers - John Crow



Dead Wax, Published on Mar 9, 2014

Jamaican Folk Singers - Volume II - John Crow

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Example #3: Jamaica folk Song - John crow seh im naah wok pan sunday


Wesley Henry, Published on Mar 17, 2014

House of Prayer Canada culture day 2013 - Jamaicans singing

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ADDENDUM: REGGAE EXAMPLES OF THIS SONG

Example #1: TENOR SAW - NO WORK ON AH SUNDAY (WHAT ONE RIDDIM CAN DO RIDDIM)



KILLA SELECTOR Uploaded on Nov 9, 2011
" BAD BAD TENOR SAW " !!!!!!!!!!!!!
-snip-
Here's a comment that quotes one portion of that song
Ason, 2013
"yesterday a big cow die in the pasture yesterday a big cow die in the pasture woah I see a flock of crows flying in the sky making a circle and then the crows fly down yes the crows fly down but the leader of the crows was gray and he come in the front an say yesterday when you was on earth kicking up dust but today you die, who is gonna bury you? but today you die, I wanna know who's gonna bury you then all his folks shout and say we gonna eat you me and my folks all gonna eat you

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Example #2: KING KONG - JOHN CROW WORK ON SUNDAY (PRESSURE & SLIDE RIDDIM)



KILLA SELECTOR, Uploaded on Nov 23, 2011

" WICKED KING KONG TUNE " ...

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UPDATE: January 30, 2016
The song "John Crow Say I'm Wan' Decent Woman" is a version of the John Crow Say Him Naah Wuk Pan Sunday" family of songs. An example of that song is included in the 1981 Folkways Record album entitled "John Crow Say..: Jamaican Music of Faith, Work and Play".
The song begins with the verse
John Crow say "I wan' decent woman
Can't work can't work can't work on Sunday.
John Crow say "I wan' decent woman
Can't work can't work can't work on Sunday."

http://www.folkways.si.edu/john-crow-say-jamaican-music-of-faith-work-and-play/caribbean-world/album/smithsonian

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